Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox

I got this hardcover, if you can believe it, so that I would have a guaranteed good book to read while I was recovering from childbirth. I was not disappointed. I can't say that I fully enjoyed The Lost Colony, but this one renewed my faith in the wonderful Artemis Fowl series. Artemis has to get back in time to stop himself from committing a horrible crime—selling the last animal of soon-to-be extinct species. He has to hurry in order to get a cure for his rapidly ailing mother, who he believes has been infected by a viral strain of fairy plague.

Author: Eoin Colfer

The Secret of Platform 13

When I first saw this book on the library shelf, I though "What a cheap rip-off of Harry Potter!" referring, of course, to the famous platform 9 and 3/4. Not only that, but the story is about a prince who is stolen away from the mythical wizarding world to live obliviously in the real world, where he is kept as a slave in the basement by a horrid family who dotes on their fat, spoiled son. Believing the fat, spoiled son to be the stolen prince, a group must try to convince the wrong child to come through the magical platform 13 that connects to the magical world where his parents wait desperately for his return. But then I read the publishing date. This book was written years before Harry Potter first graced our shelves. J.K. Rowling wasn't even on the spectrum yet! So no one can really blame Eva Ibbotson of plagiarism of any kind, can they? Once I discovered that, I was able to enjoy the book much more, so now you can know that too in case the idea of copy-catting would otherwise turn you off to this wonderful read. Please check out this quick and fun read!

Author: Eva Ibbotson


I am so in love with this series. It's a cross between Clan of the Cavebear and Mists of Avalon. This is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver; it's set in prehistoric times and is primarily about a young boy named Torak, his pack-brother Wolf (who really is a wolf, that's not just a name), and his best friend Renn. Torak has the ability to communicate with wolves, being as he was raised by them (it's not as Jungle Book as it sounds), and connects in the first book (Wolf Brother) with an abandoned pup. As Torak is also freshly orphaned, the two become "pack-brothers" and go in search of a larger tribe that they can form up with. Torak's abilities mark him as destined for great and dangerous things, and as he goes on his adventures in search of Soul Eaters and evil spirits, he is accompanied by Renn, a mage of the Raven clan. What I personally find most fascinating about these books is the portrayal of Wolf. Normally I really don't go for getting inside the heads of animal characters, but Paver's writing is so well-crafted that I look forward to chapters from Wolf's perspective. Paver completely understands the dog/wolf mentality and behavior, so it is believable as well as engaging. And as in the Clan of the Cavebear series, you can't help but learn a little about the medicinal properties of plants and the secret lives of forest animals.

Author: Michelle Paver
In this book, Torak is outcast (as the title implies). He must constantly be on the run from surrounding clans while trying to find a way to prove he is not a Soul Eater. However, a mysterious enemy has gotten a hold of his name-spirit and is slowly draining the sanity and strength from Torak. Wolf watches helplessly while Torak goes mad, and Renn must find a way to not only track down Torak but to release him from his trance. An underlying plot set us up nicely for the fifth book, Oath Breakerr.

Breaking Dawn

There, it's done. We know what happens to Bella and Edward, and our love-sick vampires live happily ever after. There was a lot of bad press about this book, which concludes the series that began with Twilight, but I actually thought it was one of the strongest. If you haven't read it and intend to, skip this review because it contains SPOILERS.

First off, I've always felt that these books had a strong pro-abstinence/anti-premarital sex slant to them. It was fun when it created this sexual tension in the first book or two, but then it started getting wearisome. On the one hand I just wanted Bella and Edward to get it done and over with and stop making such a big deal about it; on the other hand I couldn't imagine what would support the story if they did. Breaking Dawn answers the dilemma, but not exactly in the way I envisioned. Yes, Bella and Edward wait until they marry (at 19). Yes, they have sex soon after at Bella's request since she wants to still be human. They conceive a weird half-vampire baby which has to be chewed out of Bella's womb by Edward in a very Rosmary's Baby kind of way. Bella becomes vampire, Jacob falls in love with baby, blah blah blah. By the way, the way Bella treats Jacob is totally sick. She leads him on and acts so pious about it. It's mean. Anyway, all ends well. Against all odds these books are absolute page turners.

So now we have the MOVIE coming out soon! All of us up here in the Pacific Northwest are particularly excited, being as this series is set in Forks, Washington. Parts of the film are filmed up here in our neck of the woods (and in Portland, OR, mainly). What do you think of the casting? I'm not sure what to make of the gigantic pompadour sported by Edward . Despite the Conan hair, all the previews I've seen so far look really promising and I'm going to make absolutely sure to do my YA bibliophile duty and get a babysitter so I can see this in the theaters.
Author: Stephanie Meyer

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

This entire novella takes place in the space of one long night. It's a story about the strange and very sophomoric encounter and romance between two high school seniors who meet at a punk club. Nick, recently dumped by his first love, tries to avoid looking pathetic in front of said ex-girlfriend by asking a random girl, Norah, to be his five-minute date. This leads to a long night of give-and-take emotional and sexual episodes between Nick and Norah that are pretentious at best. Written in alternating first-person chapters, this narrative is full of f-this and f-thats, so if you're language sensitive this wouldn't be up your alley.

This book was strange. Norah's exactly who I thought I could be in high school: this hard-outer core chick who was really smart, eccentric, and straight-edge with this inner turmoil but clear mind (none of which was true, by the way). But what I found most strange about the book was that it had pop cultural references to MY generation, which is at least one or two generations older than the age of the characters. Either I'm old enough to have things of my generation becoming retro already, or the authors, who are my peers, are waxing nostalgic and believing that somehow teenagers in high school at this moment relate to My So Called Life and Heathers as cult classics. I dunno. Maybe.

In a nut shell, it's a very teenage book. It's everything I find most annoying about the teenage mindset now that I'm an adult (and a parent), everything I thought was so cool back in school that I'm annoyed with myself now for believing in. It pulls apart the younger me and the older me. Maybe that's why I just had to read it and finish it. In sum, a nostalgic trip for us old fogies, an engaging story for younger readers, and I actually would recommend it (as I do any YA book that is put to movie form).